371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787
Brian Christian began to have some difficulty seeing out of his left eye and suspected that it was time for a routine eye exam. The optometrist said there appeared to be a problem with his retina, so he was referred to a retinal specialist who told him that it was a little more significant. His eyesight continued to deteriorate and the condition began to spread to his right eye. He had a rare genetic disease called Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), for which there is no cure. The disease would continue to attack his optic nerves and result in the loss of his central vision, rendering him legally blind. Christian began rehabilitation classes, learning how to cook safely, make minor repairs within the home, read braille, and negotiate obstacles. After graduating from the rehabilitation program, he decided that he wanted to pursue a bachelor's degree. He realized then that he would need a guide dog to assist with navigating the public transportation system, as well as on campus. In March 2011, Brian flew to New York to meet and train with my future guide dog. He was matched with a red Golden Retriever named Freddie with a great temperament. The training he received with Freddie at the Guide Dog Foundation was phenomenal - it was varied and prepared me for almost any situation. Freddie has become a part of our family, and we couldn't be happier. Christian says, "I knows that I chose the best facility from which to receive my guide dog. I depend on him daily, and he never lets me down. It is through him that I am able to recapture my independence!"